Law Enforcement | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Hate crimesBlack Americans are still victims of hate crimes more than any other group

    By Lillianna Byington, Brittany Brown, and Andrew Capps

    James Byrd Jr., who was dragged to death in Texas 20 years ago, became one of the namesakes for a 2009 federal law expanding hate crime legislation. But just 100 hate crimes have been pursued by federal prosecutors between January 2010 and July 2018.

  • Urban violenceViolence in U.S. cities: Mixed, but optimistic, picture

    Violence has fallen in nearly all major U.S. cities since 1991, but recent fluctuations in violence in selected cities point to temporary disruptions in this 17-year decline. “American cities are much safer than they were in the early 1990s,” says one researcher. “While violence rose in many cities from 2014 to 2017, the most recent data indicate that, overall, cities have turned a corner and this recent rise in violence may have come to an end.”

  • CrimeMurder rates highest in countries lacking due process

    Governments that do the best job protecting the rights of the accused have the lowest murder rates, while those that neglect due process have the highest, according to a new study. “This study suggests that how the government treats people in its effort to provide security matters,” says one researcher. “When there is a lack of trust in the state, people tend to take matters into their own hands and there are real-world consequences.”

  • Printable gunsBlocked from distributing plans for 3D-printed guns, "crypto-anarchist" is still in the DIY gun business

    By Matthew Choi

    Cody Wilson’s group Defense Distributed is known for attempting to upload the digital blueprints for 3D-printed guns. But he also helps customers make unregistered, unserialized conventional firearms, from Glocks to AR-15s.

  • GunsThe Las Vegas mass shooter had 13 rifles outfitted with bump stocks. He used them to fire 1,049 rounds.

    By Miles Kohrman

    The Las Vegas Police Department on Friday concluded its investigation into the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival, which claimed the lives of 58 people and left more than 800 injured. The report includes a detailed accounting and forensic analysis of the significant arsenal recovered from the gunman’s hotel room. The police recovered 18 rifles and a handgun. Thirteen rifles were outfitted with bump stocks, the aftermarket devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to mimic the rate of fire of an automatic rifle. The gunman used all but one of those bump stock-equipped rifles during his deadly attack. With the aid of the devices, the gunman unleashed a total of 1,049 rounds at the crowd below.

  • Printable gunsFrom gun kits to 3D printable guns, a short history of rogue gun makers

    By Timothy D. Lytton

    Gun rights activist Cody Wilson got a green light from the Trump administration in June to publish digital blueprints on the internet that will enable anyone with a 3D printer to make a plastic gun. Wilson’s harnessing of computer technology and his self-proclaimed radical ideology have added a new, unpredictable dimension to America’s struggle to reduce gun violence. But my research into the marketing, distribution and sales practices of the U.S. firearms industry reveals that there is nothing new in attempts by gun makers to exploit loopholes in government regulations. Since the 1980s, anyone can purchase the most lethal of firearms free from all legal restrictions. This has been made possible by small companies, operating on the margins of the gun industry, that sell complete weapons in the form of parts kits. Gun parts – as opposed to whole guns – are not subject to any of the federal regulations that govern firearms sales. No federal license is necessary to sell gun parts. And no background check is needed to purchase them.

  • Printable gunsInternet publication of 3D printing files about guns: Facts and what’s at stake

    By Kit Walsh

    When it comes to guns, nearly everyone has strong views. When it comes to Internet publication of 3D printed guns, those strong views can push courts and regulators into making hasty, dangerous legal precedents that will hurt the public’s ability to discuss legal, important, and even urgent topics ranging from mass surveillance to treatment of tear gas attacks. Careless responses to 3D-printed guns, even those that will do little to limit their availability, will have long-lasting effects on a host of activities entirely unrelated to guns.

  • NRA in CyrillicGun play: The rise and fall of Maria Butina's wannabe Russian NRA

    Maria Butina’s motives, movements, and connections have become a subject of intense scrutiny and debate, and have resulted in a diplomatic standoff with Moscow. But her sudden emergence seven years ago — at the age of 22 — as a well-connected gun-rights activist also caught many off guard in Russia, where the gun issue has long been on the political fringe.

  • GunsAddressing the knowledge gaps about firearm injuries and deaths

    “Because there are so many types of homicides, with multiple types of motives, there are multiple reasons for why they occur,” ASU’s Jesenia Pizarro says. But “situationally, there are things that increase the risk of a homicide taking place, and this is different from someone’s motive. A motive might be that a husband wants to kill his wife. But situationally, we know that crime facilitators such as alcohol, drugs and the availability of firearms increase the risk of a homicide taking place. If you have a firearm, you are more likely to use it. Of all the traditional types of weapons you can use, firearms are the most lethal. So, the availability of a firearm increases the odds of a homicide incident occurring.”

  • Mass shootingsWhite mass shooters receive sympathetic media coverage

    White mass shooters receive much more sympathetic treatment in the media than black shooters, according to a new study that analyzed coverage of 219 attacks. Findings showed that white shooters were 95 percent more likely to be described as “mentally ill” than black shooters. Even when black shooters were described as mentally ill, the coverage was not as forgiving as it was for whites responsible for similar kinds of attacks.

  • GunsFBI to add major law enforcement database to gun background check system

    By Ann Givens and Andrew Knapp

    The bureau is getting ready to tap National Data Exchange and its 400 million records to help screen gun buyers. Expert say it would have blocked the Charleston church shooter from obtaining his murder weapon.

  • Active shooterIntrusion Technologies, Louroe Electronics integrate threat detection t technologies

    Most of the casualties in an active shooter attack are killed or injured in the first three minutes. On average, responders arrive and engage the attackers in 4–11 minutes. Intrusion Technologies says that the its AIMS platform, using Louroe’s Digifact-A microphone, detects and activates 360° protective systems in less than four seconds, stopping the would-be assailant before tragedy strikes.

  • PoliceGerman court rules that police officers in North Rhine-Westphalia must be at least 163cm tall

    A German court in North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday has ruled that three women who are shorter than 163 centimeters cannot become police officers. The court upheld the North Rhine-Westphalia’s police rule that officers must meet the minimum height requirement of 163 centimeters (5 feet and 3.5 inches). Lawyers for the police argued that small officers are hard to see in a crowd, and that hips of shorter people tend to be too narrow to attach all the police tools.

  • Hate crimesNew data shows U.S. hate crimes continued to rise in 2017

    By Brian Levin, James J. Nolan, and John David Reitzel

    We have collected new police data from 2017, ahead of the FBI totals, which cover crimes only up to 2016, and performed the first analysis of that year’s hate crimes, with a particular emphasis on the 10 largest U.S. cities. Our investigation found that hate crime totals for the 10 largest cities rose for four straight years to the highest level in a decade. Within these data are intriguing signs about the timing and direction of this bigotry. We may also be on the threshold of a new era in crime: Russia’s broad interference in the 2016 U.S. election is well documented – but what is also notable about Russian interference was their focus on sowing racial discord. There appears to be a correlation between the rise in targeted racially divisive social media ads and a near contemporaneous rise in hate crime.

  • GunsJust how many guns do Americans own? (And why do estimates vary so widely?)

    By Alex Yablon

    There is no official count of how many guns Americans own. But the best available calculations make it clear that the number has grown by tens of millions in recent decades, leaving the United States ever more densely armed than other countries. A June 2018 report from the Small Arms Survey estimates that American civilians own 393 million guns, both legally and otherwise, out of a worldwide total of 857 million firearms. That’s up from 270 million civilian-owned guns domestically, and 650 million globally, in 2007.